Call it Comeback 3.0. Could Lance Armstrong be returning to the Tour de France? Well, sort of.
According to a story in The Daily Mail, the banned-for-life Armstrong has agreed to join portions of a charity ride that will trace the route of the 2015 Tour one day ahead of the pro peloton.
The Mail reported that Armstrong will join former footballer and cancer survivor Geoff Thomas for few days of a fundraising ride for a cancer charity. Thomas said Armstrong’s own tale of surviving cancer inspired him more than a decade ago, and now he wants to link up with the Texan in a charity ride ahead of the Tour route.
“There are huge sections of the book [Armstrong’s ‘It’s Not About the Bike’] that, for me, remain sincere and truthful,” Thomas said. “I’m not here to defend Lance, and I’m certainly not trying to present him as a victim. He has made his mistakes, and now he’s paying the price. But none of that actually concerns me. This isn’t about cycling or doping or the UCI. This is about cancer and saving lives.”
The story said Thomas met Armstrong “face-to-face,” and then persuaded him to join his fundraising effort.
“If anything, I’m using Lance here. I’ve pursued him. I’ve flown to Texas to see him, and I’ve persuaded him to get involved again,” Thomas said.
There was no official confirmation from Armstrong that he would participate, but he did retweet a link to the story on his personal Twitter account.
Armstrong, 44, was banned for life and had all seven of his Tours de France stripped as part of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s case in 2012. Armstrong was also removed from the LiveStrong foundation, which he founded in the aftermath of his own bout with cancer in the 1990s.